Being able to sleep better each night not only helps your productivity and energy levels but it also improves your immune system, puts you into a lot better mood and makes you feel better the next day, and can even prolong your lifespan. Here are a few tips you should try to see if you can find the sleep formula that works best for you:
Tip #1 – Stay cool
Sleeping in a cooled down room helps drop your body temperature signaling it to produce sleep-inducing melatonin. Many experts recommend setting the room temperature between 65° and 75°F, but make sure the temperature feels right for you. The coolness also helps your body produce melatonin, helping you feel comfortable as well as sleepy.
Tip #2 – Set yourself a strict sleep schedule
One of the most important things you can do to improve your sleep is to set a schedule and stick to it. Go to bed each night at the same time and wake up the next morning at the same time. Do this not only on weekdays when you’re working, but also follow the same schedule on weekends.
Tip #3 – Extraneous light
Experts recommend that for the best night’s rest, sleep in a totally darkened room. Light of any kind is a powerful signal that tells your brain that it is supposed to be awake. Even the tiny glow from your smart phone, laptop or other portable electronic device will pass through your closed eyelids and tell your brain to stop producing melatonin. The darker the room is, the better you are going to sleep.
Tip #4 – Stop smoking
If you’re a smoker, you already know you should stop. But here’s another reason. Because the nicotine you breathe in with smoking is a stimulant, it keeps you awake at night. Smokers are also four times as likely to not feel as well rested in the morning as nonsmokers.
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Tip #5 – No caffeine after two o’clock
The stimulant caffeine can stay in your system for up to eight hours, so don’t consume coffee, tea or any cola drinks that contain caffeine after about two in the afternoon. Caffeine keeps your brain awake and not only keeps you from falling asleep but also keeps your body from being able to enter deep sleep altogether.
Tip #6 –Check your medications
Many of the medications you take can cause insomnia. These include beta-blockers that are prescribed for high blood pressure and some antidepressants. If you’re not sure if any of the medications you’re taking are affecting your sleep, check with your doctor.
Tip #7 – Keep a diary
Keeping a diary will help show where there’s need for improvements in your sleep schedule. Track factors such as what you ate before bedtime, if you did any exercise just before going to bed, what time you went to sleep and what time the next morning you awakened. Note how many times you woke up during the night and how you felt the next morning. Then compare your daily activities with your nighttime diary and you may see patterns emerge that will help you make the right changes.
Tip #8 – Wind down
Give your body some time to adjust from your busy daytime schedule. Set a timer before going to bed and spend the first 20 minutes preparing for the next day; the second 20 minutes taking care of personal hygiene things like brushing your teeth; and the last 20 minutes practicing deep breathing exercises or perhaps some light reading.
Tip #9 – Exercise, but not before bedtime
Almost any form of exercise can improve the length and quality of your sleep, but exercise can also elevate your body temperature and keep you awake at night. Exercise no later than four hours before you go to bed. When your body cools down, it will release melatonin that will help you sleep.
Tip #10 – Write it down
Whatever’s on your mind that you can’t make go away can keep you awake. The solution is to write it down. As soon as you’ve written your concerns down on paper, they’re converted into a plan of action that will help you sleep easier before tackling it in the morning.
Tip #11 – Sip some warm milk
Mom was right when she advised you to have a few sips of warm milk before bedtime. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan which helps induce sleep. If nothing else, drinking a glass of warm milk may make you think of when your mom tucked you into your bed when you were a child.
Tip #12 – Cheese and crackers
One of the best nighttime snack combinations to help your body fall asleep at night is cheese and crackers. This delicious combination boosts the naturally occurring brain chemical, serotonin, making you feel calmer and more relaxed.
Tip #13 – A good bedtime story
Listening to a good story on your portable listening device takes your mind away from the trials and tribulations of the day and helps you concentrate on something entirely different, which in turn helps you drift off to sleep. Music is another good source to listen to when you’re trying to fall asleep.
Tip #14 – Breathe deeply
Breathing deeply at the end of the day slows your heart rate down and reduces your blood pressure, helping your body get ready for sleep. Breathe in for five seconds, then pause for 3, and then exhale for another five seconds. Do this eight times in a row to begin with and increase it to fifteen times after a week or so. Breathing deeply is a sure cure to help you get to sleep at the end of your day.
Sleep is a basic biological necessity, and finding a solution to sleep deprivation may take some experimentation to get things normal again. With these helpful tips, your nights should be a lot more restful and you’ll definitely be able to tell the difference the next morning. Sleep tight!